The Children of Wrath
Ephesians 2:3 “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
I have been exercised a great deal lately about anger. It is not just other people’s anger…..although there seems to be so much of that….but it is my anger.
How easily I can begin to be angry! Silly things, which are trivial, should never make me angry.
Impatient, perhaps,……but angry….no.
Praying about this, I was struck by this verse….and how much it says!
“We all had our conversation (our walk) in times past….and were by nature the children of wrath..”
Anger is a natural part of our being….it came with the nature of sin from our first parents: Adam and Eve, and their disobedience.
(Cain, the first born son of Adam and Eve, became angry….refusing God’s warning about this sin (Genesis 4:5-7)……he became the first murderer.)
Proverbs 29:22 “An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.”
But, as Christians,…..far from excusing us,….this merely shows us the extent of the lust of the flesh….for anger has to do with “me”, or “mine”….and how things affect me.
As Christians, we have a new nature….received when we were born again.
It is Christ’s nature, implanted within us by the Holy Spirit.
Paul writes, “That we should put off concerning the former conversation the old man…..and that ye put on the new man, which….is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22,24)
And then he says,….
Ephesians 4:26 “Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:”
Set those things, that make you angry, right with God.
The Holy Spirit enables us to live spiritually, not naturally, in our everyday lives.
Ephesians 4:30-32 “And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
(I am going to share a verse with you, that the Lord showed me a long time ago. I have preached on it many times since….for it is an amazing revelation!)
Hebrews 12:14-15 “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord:
Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”
How can we “fail of the grace of God”? By not using it. The Holy Spirit supplies it,…..but when we refuse to use it, and side with ourselves against God’s Way…..we “fail” of it.
We think of God’s power ripping through things, changing things….this way and that;….and it has….and does…….but God often limits His power (grace) to…..how much we receive it at His hands.
Mark 6:5-6 “And He could there do no mighty work, save that He laid His hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them.
And He marveled because of their unbelief, and He went around about the villages, teaching.”
Jesus had come back into the country of Nazareth, and when it was the Sabbath….He came to the synagogue and taught.
You would think that they would be excited to hear Him, (a hometown boy made good)……since He had performed miracles and healed many, in other places.
And they acknowledged His works…..it was Who He was that offended them.
It was His authority……He was the Messiah…the Son of God…..and He was telling them how God is.
And they refused to receive this grace offered them in this synagogue……and by doing so….refused Him.
(And how many times have we heard people say Jesus was a “good person”….but when it came to acknowledging Him as the Son of God….they refuse.
And what of us…..do we refuse to submit to His authority? Are we amazed at His miracles….and….are we submitting to His authority, as well?)
But no, they became “offended”……not because of His works….but because of Who He was, to them……so they refused His words, and His works, as well.
Mark 6:2-3 “And when the Sabbath day was come, He began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing Him were astonished saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this that is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His hands?
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Judas, and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him.”
They saw His Wisdom……they knew His hands worked the miracles they’d heard about…..
…….but they refused His grace to believe what all these things showed: that He was the Messiah, the Christ of God…….
….they refused to believe it……and in anger, set about to kill Him.
In Luke, it says about the same visit to Nazareth:
Luke 4:28-30 “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong.
But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.”
And He, Jesus, the Son of God, could do no mighty work there,…..And He marveled at their unbelief.
Jesus limited Himself to their receiving Him….
And Jesus often limits the grace given….to how much we receive it at His hand.
How much of our anger as Christians is because we refuse to receive His Word,…..His Way,……which leads us to refuse Him, and His grace offered to us?
Let us stop getting angry at God….
Let us receive and keep receiving what the Holy Spirit wants to work within us…..even when we would rather put up with ourselves (our reasons, our thoughts, our feelings).
Let us open up our hearts everyday to Him, His Word, His Way, and His grace by His Holy Spirit…..putting away anger, bitterness, wrath, etc.
And taking all the grace we can…….to stay close to Him.